Striving for Equality: Communications Student Federica Bocco

Federica Bocco (class of 2018) is a Communications student from Naples. She is also pursuing a minor in Humanistic Studies. Very involved in student life, Federica is active in multiple clubs, including the Theatre Society, the Matthew, and the Queer Alliance. In Spring 2017 Federica won the JCU Fuller Prize for opinion writing with a piece entitled Egalité, Fraternité, Bisexualité.”

Federica Bocco

Federica Bocco

You won the JCU Fuller prize for your “Bisexualité” piece. Why did you choose this topic?
Winning the Fuller Prize was an absolute honor. When I first published the article, I was overwhelmed with the positive response it elicited. A lot of people I had never talked to approached me to thank me because they were finally feeling represented. It was such a good feeling, to know that I had done something useful for the community. The article itself addresses the main stereotypes that bisexuality is often reduced to and invites everyone to embrace inclusiveness instead of prejudice. Acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has certainly improved in the past few years, but real equality has yet to be achieved. I think we should all strive to help make it a reality.

You are also an activist for women’s rights. What are the most important goals that still need to be achieved?
In the US, first wave feminism fought for women’s right to vote. Second wave feminism demanded that women be given more equal rights. Third wave feminism focuses on intersectionality and stands for the rights not only of women but of every oppressed group and minority. Feminism strives for equality.  If the term isn’t gender neutral it’s because it was born out of women’s desire to achieve that equality. Public education should include at least the basics of women’s studies and gender studies so that the future generations will deal with these topics with actual knowledge.

Apart from education, I think the most effective way to raise awareness and sensitize people is through film and television. Media mirror reality, but reality mirrors media too. Being exposed to a more thorough and realistic representation of women and queers would make more people sympathetic to the cause. It is not enough that the number of female-driven movies has grown exponentially in the past decade. But if we think that only one woman has ever won an Academy Award for Best Director, and a total of four women have been nominated in 89 years, it’s not hard to see that there is a problem. However, I think the success of Wonder Woman for example, the first solo female superhero film in over a decade, and the first superhero movie ever directed by a woman,  sets an important trend and can finally change the movie industry’s backwards attitude toward women behind and in front of the camera.

Tell us about your involvement with clubs. How did it shape your academic career and personal growth?
I have been an active participant of many student clubs since my first semester and I have met some of my best friends at these weekly meetings. Theatre Society, The Matthew, the Queer Alliance, just to name a few. I have been part of several stage productions and just this past semester we organized a 80s themed prom that was a success.

I’ve also worked in several offices at school, which definitely helped me plan ahead and manage my time and my energies responsibly. Among others, I have been a student assistant at the Web Communications Office, where I honed my writing and journalistic skills. At the Italian Tutoring Center I helped many students learn and improve a foreign language. Through the Orientation program I welcomed and led new students through their first week in a new country.  Every one of these experiences has been emotionally and professionally rewarding.

Any advice for a new student starting out at JCU?
My advice is to always leave your options open. Your first choice might not be the best for you. You might realize that the academic path you chose is not for you, so never forget that you’re always in time to change your major, or add a minor or two. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of student life. Get involved in clubs and organizations as much as you can, it is the fastest and most fun way of meeting friends and making the most of your college years.

The past two years at JCU have been the most exciting, challenging and fulfilling of my life. Here I have met friends, professors and staff members who have given me so much and helped shape my personality.

College isn’t all fun and games, you have to be willing to learn, to earn your degree for yourself and to get something more than just a piece of paper with your name on it. Live your college experience to the fullest: don’t let opportunities sweep past you, seek them out and don’t be afraid to put yourself at stake. In the true spirit of John Cabot, it is only through the journey of human curiosity that you will succeed.